ILOILO City – Western Visayas is one of three pilot regions for the rollout of a new and locally developed technology for diagnosing dengue.
Biotek-M, rapid dengue test kit, has been approved for clinical use by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Dr. Raul V. Destura, the molecular microbiologist who developed this new dengue test.
This locally developed technology is also less costly, he added.
“I am very proud that the Department of Health is adopting it. We were here a couple of months ago kasi tini-train namin ang mga medical technologists ng Western Visayas,” said Destura who spoke at the 3rd Western Visayas Health Research Conference held here yesterday.
The development of Biotek-M was fully funded by the government through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines.
The rapid dengue test kit is intended to reach marginalized sectors, particularly via barangay health centers, said Destura.
“Pagnakarating roon, then I know my job is complete,” he said.
The two other pilot regions for Biotek-M were the Ilocos Region (Region 1) and the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9).
Compared to the current imported dengue tests or molecular tools, Biotek-M is “70 percent cheaper”, said Destura.
“That is the purpose of this technology: to disrupt the current practice…kasi tagabili lang tayo, hindi tayo tagagawa…We wait for other countries to look for solutions to our own problems,” said Destura.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology for dengue diagnosis costs between P4,000 to P7,000 per test.
Dengue is caused by day-biting Aedes albopictus and Aedes egypti mosquitoes that breed in clear, stagnant water.
Destura is also an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist connected with the National Institute of Health – University of the Philippines Manila. He obtained his formal education in Medicine at the De La Salle University Health Sciences and proceeded to training and research fellowship in the field of infectious diseases at the Philippine General Hospital from 2001 to 2003.
He went on for an international training in emerging infectious diseases at the University of Virginia, USA./PN